Vitamin E For Acne: Is It Effective?

Make the most of vitamin E with creams, serums, oils, oral supplements, and dietary changes.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Nicholas JonesDr. Nicholas Jones, MD, FACS
By Ramona SinhaRamona Sinha, Certified Skin Care Coach  • 

Vitamin E is a common antioxidant used in many skin care products. It is also a popular natural remedy added in many homemade skin care masks. It offers immense skin benefits. However, many people swear by using vitamin E oil for acne and rave about its acne-soothing properties. But does it really work for acne?

Topical vitamin E oil can improve your overall skin health in many ways. It is a chemical-free skin care ingredient that is not harsh on acne-prone skin. It protects the skin from photoagingi  XDamage to the skin, like wrinkles or dark spots, caused by long-term exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) light. and cellular damage to keep it healthy, providing skin protection and skin nourishment. It is also said to aid sebum regulation and skin brightening, which may help reduce acne spots. However, limited scientific research supports vitamin E’s acne healing abilities. This article explores how vitamin E oil may heal acne, ways to use it, and risks. Read on.

Is Vitamin E Effective For Acne? What Research Says

Yes. Vitamin E oil is effective for acne, but it largely depends on how you use it. However, there islittle clinical proof regarding the topical efficacy of vitamin E oil on acne and acne scars. There are a few inconclusive studies, but they need further clinical evaluation:

  • A study found that using a topical treatment with vitamin E oil before benzoyl peroxide (a medication used for treating acne) could improve the medicine’s efficacy and reduce acne (1). However, further research is needed to prove the results.
  • Another study found that a combination of vitamins A and E prevented comedone (small bumps often found on the forehead and chin of those with acne) formation, thus preventing further growth of Propionibacterium acnes that cause acne (2).

Some research suggests that ingesting vitamin E supplements or increasing its dietary intake can help reduce acne.

  • A study found that low levels of vitamins A and E in blood plasma could aggravate acne (3).
  • Another study conducted on hairless mice found that both topical and oral vitamin E may help reduce UV-induced skin damage, inflammation, and pigmentation (4).
  • Theoral intake of a combination of lactoferrini  XA naturally occurring protein that is usually found in human milk, animal milk, and other bodily fluids. , vitamin E, and zinc was found to reduce acne lesions within two weeks (5). However, further research is needed to draw a better conclusion on the benefits of vitamin E in acne treatment.

Vitamin E oil may work in combination with other ingredients and not just as a single treatment. Also, it is not clear if taking vitamin E supplements or using them topically works in a particular case. It largely depends on your skin type and how it reacts to vitamin E. Hence, before using vitamin E or taking supplements, it is essential to learn which way will be effective.

However, topical vitamin E can be used for anti-aging benefits. It is observed that the reactive oxygen species (free radicals) can alter the biosynthesis or production of collagen in the skin, speeding up skin aging (6). Vitamin E can work as a free radical scavenger and slow down the aging process.

There are many ways that you can add vitamin E to your skincare routine to reduce acne. You can do it through products, foods, or supplements. We recommend consulting a doctor before figuring out which method to use.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Although vitamin E is suitable to manage acne on all skin types, it works best on dry skin with acne.

Ways To Use Vitamin E For Acne

1. Use Vitamin E oil

Woman uses vitamin E oil for acne.

Image: Shutterstock

Vitamin E is also available in cream, lotion, and serum forms. Many people squeeze out the oil from vitamin E capsules for topical application. The oil has a thick consistency, making it a good choice for people with dry and flaky skin, working as a moisturizer.

Apply this oil to your face while you sleep, as it furthers the skin healing process during the night. You can apply the oil directly or mix it with your night cream. This DIY skincare can help in pimple prevention, skin rejuvenation, and skin repair. You can also buy products that have vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) as one of the ingredients. Such products are good for taking overall care of your skin. It may provide skin redness relief when paired with soothing ingredients like aloe vera and rose water.

2. Vitamin E Supplements

Vitamin E supplements for acne

Image: Shutterstock

Vitamin E supplements are available in capsule or tablet forms. However, there is not enough evidence to determine the correct dosage of vitamin E for both topical and oral use (6).

Consult a dermatologist before taking vitamin E supplements. This is because you may not need to take additional supplements if you are getting enough vitamin E from your diet. The dermatologist may conduct a blood test to determine if you have a vitamin E deficiency.

Note: Vitamin E supplements may interact with drugs. Talk to your doctor if you are under medication for any other health issue.

3. Vitamin E Through Diet

Vitamin E through diet for acne

Image: Shutterstock

Vitamin E is naturally found in many food. The richest sources of vitamin E are whole grains, spinach, nuts, sunflower oil, and olive oil (6).Consume foods like (7):

  • Nuts and seeds (peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds),
  • Vegetable oils (sunflower, safflower, and wheat germ oils)
  • Seafood
  • Green veggies and fruits such as spinach, broccoli, mango, and kiwi

Consult a doctor to find out the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin E for you. The amount of vitamin E you need depends on your age. However, those above 14 years of age (men, women, and pregnant women) need roughly 15 mg of vitamin E daily. If you are lactatingi  XThe procedure of producing and releasing milk from the mammary glands in the breasts after pregnancy. , you may require up to 19 mg of vitamin E daily (7).

protip_icon Did You Know?
Majority of people with acne may have a vitamin E deficiency. Hence, fixing this deficiency through dietary changes can help.

Using vitamin E (oil, capsule, or supplements) for acne just because it is a widespread practice may also expose you to its side effects.

Vitamin E For Acne: Potential Risks

Skin irritation due to vitamin E

Image: Shutterstock

  • Topical vitamin E is safe for the skin unless you are allergic to it. If you are allergic, it may irritate your skin and worsen any existing condition. It may also cause contact dermatitis (8).
  • Some vitamin E oils contain certain types of preservatives and stabilizers (a few brands mention them) that may irritate the skin. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate vitamin E oil. This means the same product from two different brands may have different concentrations and might react differently on your skin.
  • Vitamin E oil, creams, and serums may feel a bit heavy on oily skin. If the product’s formula is oil-based, it may result in clogged pores and aggravate acne. Therefore, check the ingredients list and the formulation carefully before buying vitamin E products and supplements for acne. Also, do a patch test and an allergy test to avoid skin irritation and reactions.
  • Excess serum vitamin E levels can increase the risk of hemorrhage or bleeding in those who take warfarin (anticoagulanti  XA class of drugs also known as blood thinners that are used to treat and prevent blood clots in the heart and blood vessels. medicine) (9).

Other than vitamin E, the dermatologist may suggest other OTC treatment methods for effective acne management.

Other Treatments To Try

Tea tree oil for acne

Image: Shutterstock

  • Salicylic Acid: This beta-hydroxy acid (BHA)disrupt the cellular junctions to stimulate natural exfoliation and prevent come done or acne formation (10). It works best for mild acne (whiteheads and blackheads).
  • Alpha-Hydroxy Acids: AHAsexfoliate the skin to reduce come done formation (10).They minimize visible flaking, improve cell turnover, and reduce the appearance of acne scars.
  • Tea Tree Oil: It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that minimize acne-causing bacteria and reduce the severity of acne lesions (11). This thereby helps with skin irritation relief and skin calming.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide: It has antibacterial properties that reduce acnes and S. aureus to improve acne lesions. However, it may irritate the skin if not used in proper concentrations (10). Consult a doctor before using benzoyl peroxide.
  • Sulfur: It works as a keratolytic (exfoliating) agent and is often used for soothing acne and seborrheic dermatitisi  XAn inflammatory skin disorder that primarily affects the scalp and results in red skin, itchy rash, and scaly patches. (10).
  • Retinoic Acid: This metabolitei  XA substance produced by the body during the breakdown of food or medications, as well as its own tissue, such as fat or muscles. of vitamin A is also known as tretinoin and is often used for acne management. Using retinoic acid with glycolic acid (AHA) was found to improve acne scarring and promote skin regeneration (12).

However, all skin types may not respond well to these medications. Consult a doctor to understand which ingredient may suit your skin in what concentration.

Take proper care before introducing your skin to a new ingredient. This is the best way to avoid any complications.

When To See A Doctor

Consult a doctor if:

  • You have severe acne.
  • You notice deep and large cystsi  XUnusual, typically non-cancerous growths that are occasionally painful and filled with liquid or a semi-solid substance. .
  • Acne is not responding to treatment after 3-4 weeks.
  • You notice skin peeling, blemishes, and redness.

Vitamin E oil is an excellent solution for improving overall skin health. However, its efficacy for treating and managing acne remains inconclusive. If you want to use vitamin E oil for acne, you can try using serums and other products containing the ingredient. You may not get immediate results, and you have to use vitamin E consistently for at least a month before switching to other treatment methods. However, remember that it may not treat severe acne. You must consult a doctor and use prescribed medications and ointments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can vitamin E remove acne scars?

There is no conclusive evidence of the efficacy of vitamin E in acne scar treatment or acne scars prevention. Further research is required to back any claims regarding the same (13).

Key Takeaways

  • Studies suggest that a combination of vitamins A and E oil may prevent the growth of acne-causing bacteria.
  • Vitamin E oil can protect the skin from photoaging and maintain overall skin health.
  • You can use vitamin E oil or eat seafood, nuts, and spinach to improve your overall skin health.
  • Topical application of vitamin E may cause an allergic reaction and further aggravate acne in some people.


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Addressing Free Radical Oxidation in Acne Vulgaris
  2. Acne vulgaris: therapy directed at pathophysiologic defects
  3. Does the plasma level of vitamins A and E affect acne condition?
  4. Effects of topical and oral vitamin E on pigmentation and skin cancer induced by ultraviolet irradiation in Skh:2 hairless mice
  5. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine the efficacy and safety of lactoferrin with vitamin E and zinc as an oral therapy for mild to moderate acne vulgaris
  6. Vitamin E in dermatology
  7. Vitamin E
  8. Vitamin E and allergic contact dermatitis
  9. Vitamin E Serum Levels and Bleeding Risk in Patients Receiving Oral Anticoagulant Therapy: a Retrospective Cohort Study
  10. Over-the-counter Acne Treatments
  11. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties
  12. Retinoic acid and glycolic acid combination in the treatment of acne scars
  13. 13. The Role of Topical Vitamin E in Scar Management: A Systematic Review
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